ProStart/HTMP Appropriation Hearing
Last Friday, the House Workforce Development Committee heard HF1240, a $250,000 grant appropriation to Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation for the ProStart and HTMP programs. The bill was introduced by hospitality champion Representative Dave Baker and has bipartisan support.
Chef John Van House and Noah Rosenberger testified in support of the program and what it means to students across Minnesota. Their testimony was well received by members of the committee, including very positive comments from Representative Sencer Mura, who has the Roosevelt ProStart program in her district. The bill has been laid over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill.
Paid Family Medical Leave Update
Yesterday evening, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committe held the first hearing in weeks on Paid Family Medical Leave from 5:30PM – 9:00PM. The hearing was held because the fiscal note (cost of the program) is now available, which you can read below.
During the hearing, several amendments were adopted that make changes to the bill. While we are working to best understand how they will impact the program, here are some highlights:
Exempts seasonal employees: “Employee does not include seasonal employees who are employed for no more than 150 days during any consecutive 52-week period. A seasonal employee whose employment extends beyond 150 days during any consecutive 52-week period shall be considered an employee for the purposes of this chapter retroactively to the first day of employment.”
Reduces maximum benefit to 20 weeks: “The total number of weeks that an applicant may take benefits in a single benefit year for a serious health condition is the lesser of 12 weeks, or 12 weeks minus the number of weeks within the same benefit year that the applicant received benefits for bonding, safety, or family care plus 8 weeks. The total number of weeks that an applicant may take benefits in a single benefit year for bonding, safety leave, or family care is the lesser of 12 weeks, or 12 weeks minus the number of weeks within the same benefit year that the applicant received benefits for a serious health condition plus 8 weeks.”
Changes the 90 day provision: Clearly shifts 90 day provision to apply to job protection (not when you can take the leave. “Ninety days from the date of hire, an employee has a right and is entitled to reinstatement as provide under this subdivision for any day for which the employee has been deemed eligible for benefits under this chapter.”
Small business wage exclusion: “For employers with fewer than 30 employees, the amount of wages upon which quarterly employer premium is required is reduced by the premium rate to be paid by the employer multiplied by the lessor of:
Changes to business assistance grants: Allows employers to be eligible for business assistance grant when more than 15% of employees are receiving the benefits in any given week. The grant shall be equal to the lesser of: 25% of wages earned by the employees on leave in the most recent completed quarter divide by 13 or $300 per week per employee on leave. The grant must be used to hire temporary workers or to increase the wages for current employees. The grant is paid weekly.
Actuarial study: Requires an independent actuarial study to be completed and reported on by October 31, 2023. The actuarial study must study the family and medical leave premium rate, premium rate structure, weekly benefit formula, duration of benefits, fund reserve and other components as necessary to determine an actuarially sound rate and future rate setting mechanism of the family and medical benefit insurance program.
Online Hospitality Training Hearing
Wednesday, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee heard SF2023, which establishes a one-time appropriation of $350,000 to develop an online hospitality training course, modeled after the South Dakota program. The bill also accounts for a $25,000 annual appropriation for ongoing maintenance. Senator Rich Draheim is chief author of the Hospitality Minnesota priority bill and a hospitality industry advocate. He highlighted the need to help build the hospitality workforce, as we are down around 15,000 workers.
Hospitality Minnesota’s Liz Rammer lead off testimony; followed by Xinyi Qian (Director of University of Minnesota Extension Tourism Center) and Jason Subbert (TPI Hospitality). The bill was laid over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill, which will likely be released next week.
On Tuesday, Governor Walz, Speaker Hortman and Senate President Bobby Joe Champion announced the budget targets for the 2023 legislative session. Budget targets allow the House and Senate committees to start with a common goal as they pull together their omnibus budget bills over the weeks to come. That process already started this week with omnibus bill hearing beginning.
Key budget targets we are watching are:
· Taxes, aids and credits (net), $3 billion;
· Paid family medical leave, $668.3 million;
· Economic development, $250 million;
· Workforce development, $240 million;
· Earned sick and safe time, 4.8 million
To read the complete list of budget targets and more information on the process, please refer to the Session Daily article below.
Retail Delivery Fee Hearing
Yesterday, the House Transportation Committee started the hearing process on HF580, which would establish a $0.75 delivery fee on all deliveries of tangible personal property in Minnesota, including restaurant deliveries. Hospitality Minnesota has partnered with the Minnesota Retailers Association to lead a coalition in opposition to the bill. There were many testifiers, including two Hospitality Minnesota members: JJ Haywood of Pizza Luce and Rob Williams of Davanni’s. Their testimony was included in KSTP coverage, which you can watch below.
During the Thursday hearing, they only took testimony and will reconvene today (Friday) at 10:30AM for member discussion. The intention is to lay the bill over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill. Additionally, Chair Hornstein indicated they are looking at a small business exemption. More to come next week.
Wayzata 1% Food and Beverage Tax Hearing
Laura Garcia | The Hotel Landing
On Wednesday, the House Property Tax Division heard HF1535, which would allow the City of Wayzata the authority to establish a 1% food and beverage tax on all restaurants and places of refreshment within the city. Hospitality Minnesota member, Laura Garcia, General Manager of The Hotel Landing, testified to raise concerns about the bill. There was committee discussion on the need for the tax; but ultimately the bill was laid over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill. As a reminder, the Senate Taxes Committee has already heard the bill and laid the bill over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill. This means that this proposed tax is “on the list” of the potential bills to be included in the final tax bill. Final negotiations on that bill will occur over the weeks to come.
Tourism Industry Recovery Grants Hearing
On Monday, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee heard SF1794, which establishes additional one time appropriations for Explore Minnesota Tourism (EMT). Most importantly, it creates $10 million in one time tourism industry recovery grants, which can be used by entities across the state to attract conventions, events and meetings. Several testifiers – including Tourism for Growth Coalition, Meet Minneapolis, Congress of Minnesota Resorts, and Hospitality Minnesota – highlighted the positive impact the additional funds could provide to attract events and aid the tourism industry recovery.
Carbon Monoxide Hearing
Ken Wieber | Morrissey Hospitality
On Tuesday, the House Labor and Industry Committee held the second hearing on the carbon monoxide bill, which would require every sleeping room in a hotel to have a carbon monoxide alarm. The author did amend the bill to include the inspection process in current fire code inspections conducted by the Minnesota State Fire Marshal. Hospitality Minnesota engaged legislators ahead of the hearing, explaining existing fire code requirements (which does require carbon monoxide detection around fuel-sources such as gas furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces). The committee deliberated on the implementation timeline, which, at this time, is anticipated to be August 1, 2023.
The bill passed committee by a voice vote and is now eligible for a House floor vote. As a reminder, the Senate version of the bill is also eligible for a Senate floor vote. Hospitality Minnesota will continue to work with legislators to discuss the challenges to a short implementation timeline, especially supply chain challenges.
On Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee heard SF2319, which establishes driver protections for transportation network companies (Uber/Lyft). In last week’s hearing, food and package delivery was included. This week, Senator Fateh brought forward an amendment that removed food and package delivery from the bill – which we supported.
After crucial input from members on Thursday’s Advocacy Network call, Hospitality Minnesota’s Jill Sims testified on the bill to thank Senator Fateh for the removal of food and package delivery and raise additional concerns. The rideshare services have indicated that rides in the Twin Cities may cost 50% more than the same type of ride in New York City. This poses a significant challenge for hospitality workers who use the ride services, out of necessity, to get to and from work, as well as residents and travelers using the service to visit hospitality businesses. We will continue to work with Senator Fateh and other members to voice our concerns about the impact of the higher cost of rideshare.
The Senate Commerce Committee did not pass the bill; tabling it for additional work. The bill will next be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning.
Last week, the House and Senate introduced bills, HF2369 and SF2319, to establish driver protections for transportation network companies (think Uber and Lyft). As drafted, the bill would impact all food delivery services and does not clarify if in-house delivery services are exempted. One third party delivery service estimated food delivery costs could rise to $9 - $14 per order (in customer delivery fees). Another analysis indicated restaurants could lose $6 - $9M per quarter if this quashed demand for food deliveries. Furthermore, many hospitality business patrons rely on rideshare transportation services and we are consciously aware this may significantly increase the price of rideshares and decrease the number of dine-in patrons.
Yesterday, the Senate Labor Committee heard SF2319 and Hospitality Minnesota’s Jill Sims testified in opposition to the bill. The bill is also scheduled for a hearing on Thursday in the House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee. We are closely monitoring the bill and will continue to work with legislators and industry partners on the legislation.
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